Don't Give Up!
It took me a year of mediocre results (weak coffee, too long to brew, too hard to clean) to finally find the right internet resources to learn how to use -- and love -- this gadget. Read about and watch videos on "pour over" coffee. Yes, they are coffee snobs, no they are not backpackers. BUT, the technique needs to be applied to this gadget. The high end pour over technique sells you on a special kettle from which to pour the water over the drip chamber -- the kettle delivers a thin, steady stream. Of course, we can't take that STEEL kettle on our back and many folks complained that the the kettle lets the finished product get too cold), but I found a solution! It is a 10 ounce insulated plastic travel mug (the maker is famous and only recently came out this this small 10 ounce version) and the vent (not the mouth opening) for the sipping lid delivers a thin, steady stream whilst keeping the water hot! Watch the videos, use a #2 or #4 cone filter, add 1 tablespoon very fine grind coffee to the set up, heat 9 ounces of water to boiling -- pour the water into the insulated travel mug (this gets the temp to the magic 200 degrees) then pour just a teaspoon of the water over the coffee through the vent hole of the travel mug. Wait 20 seconds or so for the "bloom" -- then pour the rest of the water over the coffee grounds, keeping the stream over the grinds, not the filter. Nirvana - the filter does not clog (I guess because the stream keeps the tiny pieces floated) and the time it takes to brew is now very fast! Oh, my gosh this is great coffee! Use freshly ground coffee (I individually vacuum pack the amount I need per day on the trail and hotel).
Cleaner Cowboy Coffee
I agree with Dunes and Wadis. This is a way to "clean up" your cowboy coffee. Before I saw this I was thinking of looking for a tea strainer to do this job. This is lighter in weight and does a better job. Or this is a different way of making press coffee.
Don't underestimate this as a way of making really, really good coffee. You are in control of all the variables: coffee, grind (you do grind your coffee, don't you?), temperature, extraction time…
Here's how I do it: (1)Heat water and grind the coffee. (2)When the water is about 200°, DUMP THE COFFEE into the water. (3)Stir and cover. (4)After about 4 minutes pour mixture through the mesh filter. By now, most of the grounds will have settled and I pour as few as possible into the mesh. I have never used this with a paper filter.
I use mine at home frequently. I use a pyrex measuring cup and heat the water in the microwave. I cover the cup with a saucer to minimize heat loss and pour through this device at the end of 4 minutes as described above. A nice, compact system. I find this to be easier to clean than is a coffee press. My only caution is I don't know how long this will last. It seems durable as long as I don't poke something through the mesh or the seam coming unraveled.
I find coffee made this way to be a little cleaner than most press made coffee.
This is not a "coffee maker". It is not for brewing coffee like an electric countertop coffee maker. Hauling paper filters around in addition to this filter would defeat the purpose of this ultra-minimalist device.
This little gem is for straining the grinds out of your cowboy coffee. In other words, heat your water, dump your fresh grinds directly into the pot, stir, for 30 seconds, then pour your java through this strainer into your cup. Rich flavor, no silt in your cup. Rinse your pot and this filter promptly. Easy to make and easy to clean.
Yes, a paper filter inside this strainer would make cleanup of the grinds even faster, but that would make your coffee gear twice as bulky and half as Earth-friendly.
The only problem with this clip-on filter is its wide size; most coffee mugs will receive the brew just fine, but one camper's mug on my last trip was narrow enough to cause this filter to drip coffee all over the outside of the cup and waste the precious brew.
Good Trail Coffee
A nice, ultra-lightweight way to make coffee on the trail. It actually has 3 legs and is quite sturdy once clipped to your favorite cup. Add just a scratch more coffee and you get a nice second cup as well. Flip inside out and rinse, it cleans up in an instant. No paper filter necessary.
The biggest disappointment was that although it will fit under a fuel canister, it does NOT fit under the smaller ones (IE Jet Boil sized) and so will not nest in the Microdualist system as I hoped. However, it's so small and light I just ended up packing it in the food sack right with the coffee, it wasn't a major issue. It is so small and light I do wonder how long it will hold up before it tears, but for the price I am not too worried about it!
Let the coffee grounds steep a bit!
The first time I used this as directed, my brew was weak. I added some extra coffee grounds the next time and it was better. As a backpacker who likes to carry enough, but not too much, I always measure out my coffee supply so I didn't want to use the supply up and run out prior to the end of my trip. Third cup I brewed I put in normal amount of coffee -- 1-1/2 tablespoons -- and set the drip bag down into my cup. Filled with hot water and let the brew steep for a while, then raised the unit up on the legs to drain and poured through enough hot water to fill my cup.. Perfect brew!
Great Coffee, Tiny Device
Watched a youtube video on pour-over coffeemaking beforehand, and ours turned out very strong and delicious. We used the suggested 3 rounded Tablespoons of med-fine grounds per cup. Other reviewers mentioned that the water went through too fast, producing a weak cup, but we did not have this problem with the ratio & grind.
Tried this ultra light little device with and without a filter... found that it cleaned up so easily without it, we ditched using them. Grounds dump out without sticking much and the residue rinses out clean.
Great for Weight
First, it is important that a paper filter or paper towel be used with this filter, otherwise the coffee will be very weak. Save that, this little thing is great for backpacking, since it is so light-weight and compact. The plastic cone-style single filters are better (i.e.: Melita), but they are huge and awkward in a pack. If car-camping and weight and space are not an issue, use a percolator.
Drip coffee is the best and this thing does it well. The main advantage it offers over other drip methods is that it doesn't require a separate paper filter. That means less garbage and less mess. Who doesn't want that? It might be a little slow but you're in the woods! Chill out!
I even use it when I go to my parents cuz their coffee sucks.
Great cup of joe for the weight
As others have noted, the drip can get pretty slow near the end. Just add more water. The weight of the extra water will push through the remaining coffee, then dump out everything. If it's not strong enough, add more grinds.
For the price, weight, and compactness, you can't beat it. I even use this at home since I don't have a coffee maker!
Simple, Light, Great
I boiled water and poured it through this with 2 tbs of medium ground coffee and found the coffee weak. So I ground my coffee fine and tried again and its now delicious. This is simple and easy, its quick, I see no faults. If you are looking for a lightweight way to a good cup of coffee this is your ticket.